Assisted Living Offers Flexible Options
The change of seasons and resulting change of weather often brings reflection. What memories were made on vacations, at kids’ sporting events, at weekend barbecues. We look at our phones and scroll through photos of our family and friends, a friendly reminder of all the fun and good times. But then there’s that one telling photo. The one of mom – a mom we remember, but only through photos.
Aging is a sobering reality. Filters aside, we all age – some more gracefully than others. But how do we decide when mom or dad might need a little more than some superficial help? The idea that our parents and loved ones are no longer invincible is a difficult one to process, but is yet another reality in this thing we call life. When mom or dad is no longer the person he or she used to be, an assisted living facility might be a consideration.
Assisted living provides long-term housing and care for seniors. Seniors in assisted living can expect personalized care, nutritious meals, a wide range of social activities that cater to a variety of interests, and a sense of community in a safe, residential setting.
While each community is different, assisted living offers services and amenities to focus on important aspects of senior wellness. These include physical health, intellectual stimulation, and social connection. These three foundational pillars help slow cognitive decline and keep seniors healthier and happier longer.
According to the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, more than 800,000 Americans live in an assisted living facility.
In addition to the aforementioned three pillars, the benefits to assisted living are many.
Here are a few:
- Help with personal care
- Care coordination
- Medication management
- Mobility assistance
- Nutritious meals
- Social activities and outings
- Complimentary transportation
Seniors have different needs as they age. Some may simply need medication reminders and prepared meals, while others may require help with bathing, dressing or other daily activities. Assisted living facilities customize care to meet residents’ unique needs. Care coordination is an important service offered at assisted living facilities. Assisted living staff maintain strong relationships with area physicians and other health care providers to ensure residents receive the care they need. Safety is often a concern for families of aging adults who live on their own. Seniors in assisted living can expect a safe environment with controlled access and security protocols.
Assisted living facilities have staff available 24 hours a day in case residents need help. Security systems may include cameras in common areas or motion sensors in private apartments to detect falls, a major health risk for elderly adults. A maintenance-free lifestyle is a key benefit of assisted living. Aging adults who struggle to keep up with cooking, housework and home maintenance will find the support they need at an assisted living facility. Instead of spending time on burdensome chores, many seniors find they can pursue their interests and enjoy life more fully at an assisted living facility.
Assisted living facilities understand that good nutrition is an important part of overall health. Communities may tailor menus to cater to the health needs of seniors with medical conditions. Facilities offer communal dining, making meal-time a fun and comforting part of the assisted living lifestyle. Having someone to share a meal with often encourages seniors to eat better and make healthier food choices.
Assisted living offers plenty of opportunities for seniors to stay physically active, learn new skills, and engage with like-minded friends and peers. While programs and activities vary from one community to the next, many assisted living facilities offer a wide range of options that allow residents with different levels of cognitive and physical skills to participate and feel included. While all of these assisted living services may sound compelling, perhaps now is not the right time to fully commit to such a decision. In this case a respite stay might be in order. Many places offer the ability to try out a facility for 30 days to learn if it’s “just what the doctor ordered.”
Windsor House Inc. is a family owned and operated health-care provider that has been serving residents of the Mahoning Valley for 60 years. The company owns and operates 12 nursing homes and five assisted living communities in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.